Provide a safe place...
A cat's sense of safety and wellbeing is enhanced by access to a secluded area where it feels protected from perceived threats. A secure hide-away allows a cat to avoid and evade strange smells, noises or unfamiliar objects, people or other cats. Giving your cat the option of withdrawing increases its sense of control and security.
Raised locations make excellent safe retreats, consider the following:
• Creating a perch – either a shelf, or a platform on the top of a scratching post
• Creating a raised enclosure – use a dome, cube or igloo on a benchtop or shelf
• Cardboard boxes make excellent retreats
• Cat carriers can be used on benchtops as a retreat
Increased vertical space increases a cat's perception of territorial space and facilitates "time sharing" of favourite locations.
Provide multiple & separated resources...
Cats need to access important resources without being challenged by other cats – these include food, water, claw scratching, playing, resting and toileting opportunities. These resources should be available in multiple, physically separate locations to avoid the stress of competition in multi-cat households.
Do you provide the following?
• Separate feeding areas for each cat
• Multiple water bowls (preferably shallow, ceramic bowls), separate from the feeding areas
• Multiple resting places, some of which are elevated
• Multiple litter boxes containing preferred litter substrate
Provide opportunity for play and predatory behaviour...
Boredom stresses cats – hunting provides both play and food for cats. Predatory play and feeding behaviour helps to reduce the risk of obesity, boredom and undesirable behaviours.
To stimulate your cat offer food balls, puzzle toys and small food caches throughout the house. Locate these in boxes or elevated locations to maintain interest for your cat. Small, soft plush toys which your cat can attack and carry away are also effective for enrichment.
Multiple short periods of play (1-10 minutes) with laser pointers and fishing pole toys also decrease boredom.
Provide positive & predictable human-cat social interaction...
Cats benefit from regular, friendly interaction with humans. Consistent, gentle and friendly handling of a kitten from a young age establishes a strong human-cat bond and minimizes a stress and fear of humans.
Most cats normally seek frequent, low-intensity interactions and tend to prefer short periods of petting around the head and neck. Your cat should be allowed to initiate and stop the interactive event.
Provide an environment which respects the importance of smell...
Olfactory and chemical information is the main means by which cats evaluate their surroundings and affirm their sense of security. It is important for humans to avoid introducing odours or substances (eg detergents, medications, foods or unfamiliar clothing items) that compete with or disrupt a cat's sensory perception of its environment.
When your cat encounters unpleasant or threatening olfactory stimuli, anxiety associated problem behaviours can occur.